PARIS (AFP) – As Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) pull away towards another Ligue 1 title, the race for European places in France is taking shape with Lens bidding for a return to the Champions League for the first time in over two decades.
A stumbling run of form saw Lens win just once in seven games, but last weekend’s 4-0 thrashing of Clermont pushed Franck Haise’s side back into the top three at the expense of Monaco.
Lens have the chance to go six points clear of Monaco today when they host an Angers team who haven’t won since September and are almost certainly destined for relegation.
But Haise, who has overseen Lens’ remarkable transformation since leading the club back into the top flight in 2020, warned his players not to get complacent.
“Like I’ve said loads of times, there are rarely easy matches in Ligue 1,” he said. “There is no room for relaxation.”
“We’re going to have to work hard to finish as high as possible,” he added as Lens attempt to qualify for Europe’s top club competition for the first time since 2002-03.
“We need to give everything to have a better season than the others.”
Monaco began the campaign as France’s third Champions League representatives, alongside PSG and Marseille, but failed to make the group stage and dropped into the Europa League.
They were until recently the form team in the league post-World Cup before a 3-0 defeat by neighbours Nice late last month triggered a downward spiral.
After taking one point from their past three matches, Monaco will try to arrest their slide with victory at Ajaccio in Corsica tomorrow.